Tekken Hybrid Review

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The Tekken series was a mainstay during my time in college and even though it was a long time ago, I still remember using all the classic characters like it was yesterday, and I am bad now as I was then. It’s been a few years since home consoles have seen Tekken come back, and just in time for the arcade version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (in Japan at least) comes this strange ‘collection’ of the Tekken series.

Tekken Hybrid isn’t a new game in the series – but more a glimpse of the future, a visit to the past and something to help bridge the gap between the two. On the disc itself is a feature length animated movie, Tekken: Blood Vengeance, a graphically enhanced version of Tekken Tag Tournament (subtitled HD), and a glorified demo of Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

Everything is included on a single Blu-ray disc, and each actually supports 3D televisions. Unfortunately I don’t have a 3D setup so I can’t speak to the quality of the conversion, but just know it’s available and more than likely better suited to the movie and the Tag Tournament 2 title. One thing to note though, both games need to be installed to your hard drive and the disc needs to be in the tray in order to launch the titles. Both games take under a gigabyte each, so keep that in mind if you are like me and still rocking the original 60G fat PS3.

Tag Tournament HD plays exactly like it did back on the PS2, only this time with a little bit of a shine to the graphics. Outside of graphical enhancements, there wasn’t a full reprogram of the game, as animations still feature that very early PS2 era clunk and dated effects like the quick cuts during a knock out blow are still present. All characters are unlocked from the onset of the game, so you won’t need to work your ass off to play as some overpowered heroes.  Tekken Tag Tournament introduced some great concepts to the tag format, the ease of swapping characters, once one is KOed the round ends, and most importantly the fact that your character who’s swapped out builds reserve power which comes in handy during the final stages of a match. Experienced players will allow one character to rest for as long as possible while the other gets beat, then swap out with the boosted character to clean up the rest of the match. It’s a concept that was new when it was introduced and still stands as a solid tweak to the tried and true game style.  Also included with Tekken Tag Tournament is the Tekken Bowl mode. Here you chose two characters and play through ten frames of bowling, the kicker being that each character is slightly different in terms of accuracy and strength. Compared to other bowling titles I was not too impressed with this, but I know that for when it was released originally it was a great minigame and distraction, but age and technology have caught up to it and it’s underwhelming in today’s age.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue is the other title on the disc, this one features a reduced set of characters (only 4) that tie in directly to the most prominent characters in Blood Vengeance. The visual upgrade is immediately apparent, the fights are ridiculously fast paced and gone are the chunky character models and subpar animations.  Based on this demo (with trophy support) it’s looking like TTT2 is going to make a good splash on the PS3. Fighting is smooth, combos are quick and complicated enough that a button masher like me can’t master the huge ones, but still feel quite confident in my skills with some of the smaller combos.  My only real complaint about the Prologue is that my personal favorite, as cheap as it might be, Yoshimitsu was not one of the four characters you can choose. Oh well.

As mentioned, the Blu-Ray disc features a new animated movie called Tekken: Blood Vengeance, so don’t feel like you’re getting stuck into watching the terrible live action movie (which happened to just have been on G4 the other night.) The story moved along at a fairly slow pace until the inevitable fight scenes started, then the movie was much enjoyable to watch, especially once the devil form of Jin was unleashed. I feel that only huge fans of the series who’ve already invested some of their time and effort into the characters would enjoy the movie, but for what it was the animation was of good quality and it serves as a  nice tie in to Tag Tournament 2.

Because this is a hybrid disc, it’s a tough one to assign a score to – and even to recommend to fans. I hate the idea of paying for a demo, and even though this includes the HD update of Tekken Tag Tournament by today’s standards (and compared to the amazing story mode of the latest Mortal Kombat game) the game seems like a small bonus for those who would buy the movie. It’s not that Tag Tournament is a bad game, it’s just really dated.

7.5 / 10
Having two games featuring trophy and 3D support plus a feature length animated 3D movie all on one disc is a good deal for Tekken fans. Dated gameplay in Tekken Tag Tournament is highly evident when played back to back with the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue, but that doesn’t take away from the genre changing the title encouraged during it’s initial release.

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